June 1, 2013
The Heartland Partnership has been undergoing reorganization for several months and that journey is now complete. The organization has a new name, a new structure, new leadership and a new focus.
The Heartland Partnership is now the Greater Peoria Business Alliance. It is comprised of the CEO Council and the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce. Greater Peoria Business Alliance CEO Cal MacKay, says at one time the predecessor organization had several different companies under its umbrella and was handling a vast array of economic and community development issues. “Today we have two organizations that make up the Greater Peoria Business Alliance; the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce and the CEO Council (formerly the CEO Roundtable). This change in structure allows us to focus more specifically on the needs of private business and the regional business climate.” The two organizations will operate under a shared services model and the Greater Peoria Business Alliance will act as a back office holding company.
The CEO Council is a dues paying group made up of 60+ regional business leaders who work on initiatives to enhance the regional business climate. MacKay says “The CEO Council will focus more on the 30,000 foot view of the regional business climate. The first regional initiatives we’ll be working on are the downtown Peoria revitalization/warehouse district, identifying regional education and workforce gaps, and producing the 2014 Regional Economic Scorecard.”
The Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce has been around for 102 years and is made up of more than 1000 regional business members both large and small. MacKay says the Peoria Chamber will continue to be the leading voice of business in the region focusing more on the day to day needs of its members. “The chamber is focused on providing political advocacy, being inclusive and diverse, promoting the improvement of the region’s quality of place and being a source for strong leadership development.”
Another significant difference according to MacKay is government involvement. “The Greater Peoria Business Alliance does not have government involvement. We are a board where CEO Council and Peoria Chamber come together for private business. We are not managed by nor do we have any direct accountability to local government entities anymore.”
Leadership at the organization is changing too. The Greater Peoria Business Alliance Board of Directors is made up of the four executive board members from the Peoria Chamber and the CEO Council. The inaugural Chairman of the Greater Peoria Business Alliance Board of Directors will be Brent Eichelberger (President, Commerce Bank) who is currently serving as Chairman of the Peoria Chamber board. Next year, the CEO Council Chairman will serve as Chairman of the Greater Peoria Business Alliance. Current CEO Council Chairman is Paul DiGiallonardo (Senior Vice President, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management).
MacKay says the predecessor organization built a reputation as a go to source regarding regional issues and it will still provide that information for media and other interested parties. “People from inside and outside our region know they can come to this organization for answers about the business climate, local economy, community development, regional trends and much more. If we don’t have the answer, they know we will connect them with the proper parties to get it. We will continue to share this type information along with regional ratings and rankings the only difference is, it will now come from the CEO Council and/or the Peoria Chamber.” He expects the Greater Peoria Business Alliance’s new website will be launched soon and staff email addresses will also be changing. The office remains at 100 SW Water Street in downtown Peoria and the contact phone number remains 309-495-5900.